Justin Winderbaum, founder and proprietor of Justin’s Pies, is a walking embodiment of the old British Commonwealth. He was born in South Africa, lived in Australia and spent some time in Canada.
Together with his Canadian wife, Sandra, Justin made aliyah in 2009 to Ra’anana and started his pie business, which has really caught on with the locals.
Meat pies are the quintessential complete food. You eat a meat pie and you are eating a balanced meal of protein, carbohydrate and vegetables in one neat and tasty package.
The personable Justin, aged 40 and father of five ranging in age from 17 to six, recently dropped by with several of his products for us to sample. As they are filling and each one constitutes a whole meal, we spread the tasting over several days.
In order to distinguish one pie from another, Justin has devised a clever series of clues as to which pie contains which filling. Either they are sprinkled with different toppings, like sesame seeds or pepper flakes, or they have a specific number of holes in the top crust. For example, a one-hole pie is filled with beef mince, while three holes signify steak. Chicken curry is topped with black sesame, while the asado pie has four clear holes as befits its higher status.
It is a fairly foolproof method of ensuring that you get the filling you were expecting.
The base of the pie is made from short crust pastry, and the tops are puff pastry for an extra crispy finish.
We started our pie binge with the beef mince one-hole pie. We were both impressed with the fact that the beef seemed almost fat free.
The steak pie consisted of pieces of tender and lean steak cooked in a secret family recipe sauce
“My father had a restaurant in Zimbabwe and invented the sauce, so we are carrying on a family tradition,” says Justin.
The chicken and mushroom pie was filled with chunks of chicken breast in a creamy mushroom sauce and was especially good.
We also enjoyed the vegetarian option, a pie filled with a mix of courgettes, aubergines and what looked like slices of kohlrabi, among other veggies.
The asado pie contained chunks of soft meat, some of it a tad stringy, cooked in another tasty sauce.
Justin suggests that his pies should be heated for half an hour in a 190 degree oven. He definitely doesn’t recommend the microwave, but, at a pinch, I found it didn’t detract from the appeal of the pie much at all.
For Passover he will also be producing his pies, with mashed potato puree substituted for the pastry and four out of the eight flavors available. He emphasizes that they will be gluten-free.
His motto is “thin on crust, big on meat,” and we found this to be an accurate description of Justin’s Pies.
200-gr. pie – NIS 23
Family-size pie – NIS 100
Delivery all over the country.
Kashrut: Emek Hefer